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5 Ways to Make Dining Out with Dementia Easier

March 8th, 2019

By: Lenora Alabi

When an elderly family member has dementia, participating in regular activities can be difficult. Yet, you want them to be happy and don’t want them to feel isolated. So, how do caregivers tackle going on outings, such as to a restaurant, with family and friends? The trick is to be prepared and know some strategies for making the experience easier. Below are 5 tips that could make your next dinner out with your aging relative much more relaxing and enjoyable.

#1: Pick the Right Restaurant

Caregivers should take into consideration how the older adult is likely to react to certain environments. Seniors with dementia may be confused or frightened by restaurants that play loud music or are extremely crowded. They may also be uncomfortable in strange places. To avoid problems, choose a restaurant that is generally quiet and go at a time when it will be less busy. Also, if the senior has a favorite restaurant that they frequented in the past, it might be wise to stick with it.

#2: Sit in a Booth if Possible

A booth can be preferable to table seating for a few reasons. First, they are more private, so if the older adult does or says something that might make others uncomfortable, it isn’t as highly visible. They can also help to keep distractions at a minimum so that the older adult can focus better on their meal.

#3: Bring Helpful Items Along

If the older adult uses special utensils at home to make eating easier, caregivers should pack them and bring them along. Some other items caregivers may want to pack include:

  • Wet wipes for hands and face.
  • An adult bib to keep clothing clean. Consider purchasing something that mimics a fancy scarf or other stylish clothing to preserve the senior’s dignity.
  • A sweater in case the restaurant is cold.
  • Items needed in the bathroom.

#4: Inform Restaurant Staff

Caregivers may wish to call ahead to talk to restaurant staff about special needs or accommodations. Let them know your loved one has dementia and may do or say things that are out of the ordinary. If a certain table works best for you, ask if you can reserve it. Ask for items you need, like extra napkins. 

#5: Make Food Choices Easy

A lengthy menu may be confusing to someone with dementia. Help them to choose what to order by pointing out just a few menu items you know they like. Giving them limited choices can make the task less intimidating. 

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HIRING CAREGIVERS IN RIVER NORTH, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE CHICAGO. CALL TODAY: 312.382.8888.